Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Vinny

It's Vinny's first birthday in heaven ~ happy birthday.

My post could be long, but I've been very sick for days. Praying it will go away soon....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vinny the Night Terror

Vinny the night terror because Vinny had night terrors.

If you spent a lot of time with Vinny as a child and probably as an adult, you became one of the unlucky ones to experience a night terror (especially if you were in a confined space like a tent).

This may not be funny to some, but as a sister spending so much time with him through his entire life, I feel I have earned the right to laugh at his issues just as he did mine. Some of these stories were and are the subject of many retold tales at Pease family gatherings.

My mother went away when Vinny, Zac and I were 8,3 and 7. Molly and Stacey were in charge of watching us. Stacey had started dating David Botley, the father of her children, and decided we should all go camping at his family's lot on Pitcher Pond. David worked at Moss tents at the time and had this beautiful state of the art tent that he, Stacey and I stayed in. The other tent is something you would envision in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Very small, triangular shaped and kind of sloping in so it was difficult not to touch the sides when you were on the inside. Well, Molly, Vinny, Zac and Aaron were in that tent (not the ideal set up for them but typical Stacey fashion). Did I mention that David and Stacey had recently taken Vinny and me to see Gremlins? That might have been the start of his night terrors. Sometime in the middle of the night Vinny sat up suddenly in some type of panic. Molly quickly sat up to see what was wrong. Vinny looked at her and said, "GREMLIN" and punched her square in the nose and took off into the pitch black woods through the front of the tent. Molly was left on the brink of passing out, while David ran through the woods chasing Vinny. Vinny, of course, was sound asleep and doesn't remember a thing.

Part of the Pease family happily headed down to NH for our first family camping trip. I remember Vinny and I riding in with my grandparents in my great grandfather Hunt's camper. I remember that because my grandfather wouldn't stop to let us go the bathroom. We finally got to the campground and got set up. My grandparents were staying in my grandmother's father's camper they borrowed. Stacey, David and their kid (Rye was the only one born then) were staying in their state of the art Moss tent. My mom, Larry and Zac were staying in a decent tent they borrowed from Stacey and David. Vinny and I were staying in our chocolate brown tent that one of us probably got as a gift. I was probably 9 and Vinny 10. We all snuggled in that night in this family campground in NH. A few hours later our site was woken up by Vinny's screams. Like I said, Vinny and tents don't really mix. I woke up to Vinny punching wildly around me saying, "Momma, help! They're going to kill me!" I managed to dodge his punches until someone was kind enough to help Vinny wake up. David thought it was a great idea to take the fly off the tent so Vinny could get more ventilation. That worked for maybe an hour and the same thing happened. "Momma, they're going to kill me!" This was not a faint or quiet scene. Finally, Vinny was moved to the large tent my mother and Larry were in and he seemed to be okay. No one wanted me to be alone, so my grandmother decided to sleep with me in the little brown tent. I guess David and Stacey had a few good laughs that night because they heard the distant thunder and decided not remind anyone that the fly wasn't on our tent. I slept through the first few minutes of the torrential down pour. My grandmother didn't want to wake me up??!! I did wake up to mouthfuls of water because our tent had managed to hold a few inches of the rain. They dried me off and I also slept in my mother and Larry's tent. We went to bed with lots of lovely neighbors in this very friendly family campground and woke up to none. That's right. I guess the "Momma, they're going to kill me" screams were enough to clear out an entire NH campground.

Vinny did this to our uncle Vick and David on their hunting and fishing trips up north, but I guess they developed a method of slapping him across the face really hard to wake him up.

He did it in his teen years when we went camping with our grandparents and David and Stacey up in northern Maine. We all stayed in my grandparents' camper. He got up and started screaming and someone told my grandmother (the closest person to him) to slap him across the face. That would have never happened for two reasons. One because Vinny was always her favorite and two because Vinny was practically a grown man and could have killed her with one punch.

When he did his field tests in the army, they had to put him in a special place in the tents.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vinny the Tenderhearted Helper

Vinny was a very generous person and a great helper to many people.

When he was under 5 my family was spreading hay on the blueberry fields. My grandmother realized there were snakes in the bails of hay. After that, Vinny unloaded the truck by himself.

He spread hay over the entire blueberry fields by himself for many years. I used to wonder how he dared to do it alone on acres and acres of land with no one in sight at age 10.

Vinny was always the one who got roped in to some really bad project by my grandparents. Like cleaning out behind their barn ~ something no one in the family wanted to do.

When Vinny moved to Maryland a year after I did, he brought with him a very old pick up truck. I think he moved everyone in the church for as long as it ran. I almost think he got rid of it because he was sick of helping people move.

Vinny drove an hour and a half one way to pick me up at Dulles airport more than once. One time I had the most embarrassing experience and wanted to get out of there fast. I was so glad to see Vinny's face because I knew he would click in and help me out.

I can't count the times Vinny cheffed up some gourmet meal. When we were in Baltimore together, he did it wherever we were. He didn't care how much it cost him, he was happy to cook, eat and share it with others. He also got the half off deal when he was a server at Carrabba's. I also can't count the number of times he took me out to dinner there and at Outback Steakhouse (sister company).

When I was single and living in Baltimore, it was difficult to move and find people to help me move. I remember Zac helped me move from the Canino's to Roland Park in my little VW Golf. Vinny helped me move when I bought my first house. He risked getting eaten alive by Amy's pitbull.

We have this friend who is slightly challenged who we like to tease a lot. I have many, many Vinny and Rachael stories with this woman. Well, this woman really loved Vinny a lot. She is not the easiest person to deal with and can be very demanding. A few years ago she had a foot problem. She called Vinny to take her to the grocery store. Vinny had to lug her down a flight of stairs. Once they got to the grocery store, Vinny had to push the cart with one hand and her in a wheelchair with the other. I laughed so hard when I heard this story. There are very few men who have this kind of heart.

Some friends of ours were graduating from Bible College. Vinny offered to do the food. He stayed up all night prepping for kabobs. Over 400 people showed up for the party and Vinny worked his butt off to say the least. People finally left when the well went dry at our house.

Vinny had a heart for the families in the countries where he worked. He found ways to give money to children and was supporting 5 families when he went home to be with the Lord. He was very passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of these people.

A friend of our family supports and orphanage in Africa. She needed a large unspoken amount of money to finish her Christmas promise. She prayed God would touch someones heart. Without knowing the amount, Vinny sent a check for the exact amount that was needed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

28 Weeks/ 7 Months

Baby boy is due in less than 3 months! We are getting really excited. It was difficult not to buy him Christmas presents already.

We couldn't resist next year's winter coat when we saw what a great deal it was at the outlet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vinny the Excellent Driver (ha-ha)

If Vinny were reading this post, I know what he would say. "Rachael, yoooooou're the one who totalled your car in high school, so I am the better driver." Well, he is correct. I did total my car in high school but I'm STILL the better driver.

Vinny driving memories:

I remember sitting on the side of 131 in South Thomaston for what seemed like HOURS while Molly TRIED to teach Vinny how to dry a stick shift. It was not a successful venture.

When Vinny got his license he worked out some deal with our grandfather Pease. Vinny worked for him and my grandfather helped him buy this antique Mercedes Vinny really wanted as his first car. My mother drove us all over to my grandparents to pick up the car. It was the middle of the winter, because I remember lots of snow and ice everywhere. Well, Zac and I rode back to our house with Vinny. As we were approaching a sharp corner on Wottons Mill Road, I told Vinny not to hit the brakes in snow and ice. Older brothers don't take advice from younger sisters - especially those without their license. "Shut up, Rachael, you don't know what you're talking about." He did hit his brakes around the corner and we did start to head for the trees. Zac and I saw our lives flash before us. He managed to get the car corrected without too much trouble and we managed to keep our mouths shut in fear of an older brother's wrath.

Next car (which was probably the next month because Vinny went through cars like most people go through I don't know what). Vinny and I were headed to Rockland in Larry's (stepfather) old Toyota Corolla (Vinny's new car). It was still winter and Vinny still was hitting his brakes. We slid off the road. We tried and tried to push the car out of the ditch. It wasn't very promising because I didn't have my license, therefore, I was the one pushing. We kept looking for things that would help us get traction. There wasn't much around. Finally Vinny looked at me and said, "give me your coat." What??!! He wanted to use it for traction. Of course, Vinny wasn't wearing a coat. Fortunately a state trooper stopped and helped us.

Fast forward a few years. Vinny was living in Germany. I was home for the summer after my Sophomore year in college. I was working three jobs - one of them a 4pm - 3am shift at MBNA. Vinny was supposed to be taking a lovely vacation in Europe with his girlfriend. Well, she broke his heart in the middle of the trip. I guess he decided to come home then. I got a phone call from him. "Rachael, come pick me up."
I felt bad for him. "Where are you going to be?" "Maryland." "Vinny, I love how you're asking me to pick you up like you're in Rockland or something." At that time I had only been to Maryland twice and only driven there once. Zac, Adam (my boyfriend at the time) and I loaded up my mom's car and drove to Maryland after I got out of all of my jobs for the day. We arrived at Stacey's house sometime in the early morning - maybe 4 or 5. The deal was we were going to sleep and then drive back. We had been there for maybe 2 hours and hadn't gone to sleep yet when Vinny came to me and told me he was ready to go. What? I told him I was too tired to drive and he promised he was going drive home (my mom's stick shift). We loaded back into the car and started heading towards Maine. We stopped a few miles down the road at McDonalds to eat some breakfast. That's when Zac and Adam pulled me aside and said if Vinny kept driving we were all going to die. That I had to drive but they didn't dare to tell Vinny. I broke the news to Vinny and he was okay with it. I told him I hadn't slept in close to 48 hours and he promised to keep me company in the front seat. Within 5 minutes of hitting the highway, Vinny was snoring beside me. I managed to make it to CT without falling asleep and killing everyone. When I stopped at the rest area, I told everyone I wasn't driving. I didn't care if Vinny crashed the car, I couldn't cope anymore. Vinny took over and I fell asleep. 20- 30 minutes later Vinny was getting pulled over for driving to endanger. I had to drive again.

When we went to Vinny's memorial service in Virginia, we heard from his fellow employees how scary he was in foreign countries. I guess he would drive down the side walks and open his door while driving screaming at no one. I am sure he fit in.

If he had to go to a different part of the country while he was over there, he wouldn't ride in a convoy. He would get an old car and put on an old hat and drive alone. Very smart and very brave man.

I did ride with him a week before he died in his red pick up truck. Now, it's one of my favorite memories.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vinny the Entrepreneur

Vinny's Entrepreneur signs emerged at a very young age.

All of the Pease family summer birthday parties were held around my grandparents' in ground swimming pool. I remember Vinny mass producing pictures of dinosaurs and selling them for a dime each. And everyone bought them??!!

Molly used to pay us some change (coins probably from the floor of her car) to clean out her car (it was really a $100 job way back then). Vinny started saying "show me the green" early on before he would clean it.

In junior high Vinny had his own business. He bought gum and candy that had smaller pieces individually wrapped at the village store in Warren. When he got on the bus he sold the small pieces for the same price as the entire package. His business got shut down when he got busted for renting pencils in school. I don't think he would have got caught if my grandmother or mother didn't happen to walk into school that day and see him sitting in in-school suspension. He was great at intercepting parent notices as well.

Our uncle Vick taught him how to make Adirondack chairs. Vinny made several of his own and decided to make it a side business in high school. He took several orders, collected the cash but never made the chairs... until... our mother started receiving phone calls asking where the chairs were. Not a smooth move on Vinny's part ~ getting caught by Mom. Here's another one of those "I don't know how he pulled it off" things. These people waited a long time to get their chairs (and maybe some didn't ever get them and my mom had to pay them back) while Vinny enjoyed the benefits of his not earned cash BUT these people still thought he was the best thing ever. They probably just giggled about how clever he was. If I had done it, I would have been on the front page of the paper.

Vinny was the President of his class junior year of high school. He took full advantage of the title. He and his friends created an imaginary raffle and sold tickets to nothing and for nothing door to door in Warren. Yes, and they had a lovely time spending the money.

I had a paper route for a year or two when I was in high school. It was a couple miles long and I made pretty good money. I wasn't very good at keeping track of my profits, apparently, because Vinny later told me he enjoyed reaping the cash benefits of my work as well.

Vinny Couldn't Dance

It's early in the morning and I've been up for hours ~ now my head is swarming with Vinny stories. I think I'll try to tell many this month as it is his birthday month.

I remember one of the first times I had the "I don't know how he pulls this off" revelation about Vinny. It was the beginning of my realization of his gift with people, I just didn't know that's what it was then. We were at our uncle Vick's wedding. I think Vinny just turned 6 and I was 4 almost 5. We were at the Elk's Lodge in Rockland. I don't remember much about it, just a few vivid memories. Vinny and I sat at the table and when we realized that tapping the glass with your silverware meant the bride and groom kiss, we were very entertained to say the least. I think Vinny had an off white suit on - not that it really matters - that's just my memory. We decided to go dance. Most people who knew me at that age, knew I was very shy around people I didn't know. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself. Well, Vinny felt the opposite about himself. It was the first thing he wanted. It must have been a fast song because Vinny began his dance. We were little so I didn't really care what he was doing until all eyes were on us. Vinny was stomping and kicking around the floor, kind of a stiff legged white person's very bad version of Michael Jackson's moves. I felt the world pressing in on me because I disliked being watched. I was very embarrassed. Then to my amazement, everyone was enthralled by Vinny's dancing. I remember having the thoughts "you have got to be kidding me". "He's not dancing". Vinny was a crowd pleaser and kept on moving. It was my first revelation (that I remember) of wondering how he pulled those things off.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Why is it that when you want background noise at 4:30 - 5 am there is only paid programming on TV? I guess not many people are watching this early on Saturday morning.

I remember this message a dear pastor preached a few years back (maybe 7 or 8). David wrote some of the Psalms from a cave when he was on the run. When he was in the cave he didn't pretend that being in the cave was great and put pictures up and really dress up the cave. The cave stinks. Sometimes we are in a cave in our life and the cave stinks. We cry out to God. A cave can be so many things in our lives. The past few weeks have been a cave for me. I think the reality of Vinny's death in the beginning was the most difficult thing I've ever been through and the idea of not seeing his face for a long time hurt deeply. Now comes the missing part. I don't know if I miss him so much more because it's Christmas and his birthday this month. I didn't think that would effect me. It might be a combination of this deep pain and my pregnancy but I also really want to stick close to my house. The benefits of that are a very clean house and more decked out for Christmas than ever before. It creates a very cheerful environment. My social event attendance has gone down the drain this month but I'm giving myself grace. Sorry I didn't get to eat your delicious cookies at Christmas By the Sea Annie. My saving grace during this difficult time, which does bring me many moments of joy in the midst of sadness, are the life of my son, my supportive husband, going to church and hearing the Word of God. Thank God, God knows our frame and what weak, frail beings we are. Thank God He is the Great Comforter.

Dr. Appointment Traditions

We had our December dr.'s appointment this past week. I told Dave he really didn't have to go because I feel bad he's the only guy there. Apparently, he really, really wants to go. I think he really likes hanging out with all the pregnant women... strange for a man. He also loves our tradition of stopping at Moody's Diner on the way home to eat dinner. They do have really good diner food! Baby Umstead is doing really well. In my current hermit-like state, it did cross my mind to skip the appointment (justified by everyone in the class has missed one) but I couldn't pass up hearing his heart beat and the peace of mind that brings. It is a long drive in the dark and rain, but the class was on breastfeeding and it was very informative. About half of the class has had other children and their previous experience brings a wealth of knowledge ~ not to mention the midwives have had a least two children each and delivered several. It was tough getting there, but I always have a great time once we get there. My blood pressure, weight and measurements were great. Everyone in the class is pushing for an early class on water birth because we are all dying to hear about it.

Three more months to go!

Happy Birthday Jesus & December Babies

Happy Birthday to those December Babies ~

My husband, Aunt Rita, Zacch's father Larry, Vick, our nephew Colby, Molly, my Grandfather Galkowski, and most of all Vinny! I think it's neat that Vinny was born two days before our Grandfather Galkowski's birthday and I was born two days after our Pease Grandfather's birthday.

Well ~ most of all Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior (I know it might not be His actual birth month, but this is when we celebrate it).

Happy Birthday

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby Stuff

We got so many great gifts from the baby shower Myriah threw for me. My mother in-law and sister in-law were able to come. Thank you so much! We were able to get the pack and play (picture above) from the gift certificate from my mother in-law and she gave us so much more! I still need to get my thank you notes out! My cousin Rye threw the party, made the coolest diaper cake (I don't have any pictures yet - hint, hint), bought me dinner and gave us clothes. My friends Rachel (due a month before me & old roommate), her little girl, Rebecca, Jen (old roommate), her son, Sarah, U-la-la, Tamwad, Beth, Marian, Grace, Trace (all friends)and Aunt Stace were all able to come and gave me such great gifts. Thank you so much! We got lots of clothes, play gym, sleep protector, music player, music, bibs, bottle washers, hangers, receiving blankets, wash clothes, gift certificates and so many other things. Thank you so much!


Stealing a post from P. Matti ~

Many seemingly impressive success stories have
been found to be frauds. Borrowed money painted
a beautiful picture that kept hanging up there till
the bill arrived.
That’s what I used to say after the fall of the Soviet Union.
All the seventy years they kept arrogantly putting stuff
under the carpet. When you do that for a long time you
will sooner or later have to face the ceiling. The bill came.
Life’s success is not in how much you can get and achieve,
but in how much you can lay down and give.
The more you give, the more you’ll have.
“Give, and it will be given to you,” is the advice of the
giver of life in Luke 6:38.
This is one of the most fascinating principles in spiritual life.
Loose your life and you will find it!
Die and you shall live!
Forgive and you will win!
Serve and you will rule!
The world doesn’t need more heroes.
The world needs servants.
“Christ did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to GIVE His life a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28
Isn’t that what Christianity is on it’s best,
Christ likeness?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

5 months tomorrow

It will be 5 months tomorrow since God took Vinny home. I am so happy he'll have the best Christmas and birthday ever; I just miss him so much today. He would be turning 33 on December 27. He always hated his birthday because everyone was so put out by celebrating it. It came after Christmas Eve, Christmas and Molly's birthday, so everyone was always tired and slightly cranky. This year he'll be having a blast in heaven. Love you Vinny!

P.S. ~ Vinny was the cutest and most handsome baby and little boy. I hope my son looks like him!

26 weeks

He's a little over 26 weeks and just over 3 months to go. Time is flying by ~ before we know it, we'll have little baby boy here!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Dave!

Happy Birthday to my handsome husband. It's been a year of ups and downs but we always see God come through. I am excited to start this new adventure of parenthood with you. Love you!

My Ways

Isaiah 55:8-9 (King James Version)

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This morning I woke up thinking much about prayer - actually prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm reading a biography about D.L. Moody. So far his story has really convicted me to share the love of God with more people. When I was reading Hudson Taylor's book I felt the same way but even more so compelled to pray more in my life. Not just pray more but wait on God to see Him come through. If Hudson Taylor started praying about something, he would completely let go - I mean completely. He wouldn't mention it to other people (there's nothing wrong with having others pray for you), he kept on ministering even if his need was so great it hurt. He did it this way because he didn't want his own provision for the situation or any other man's ~ he wanted God's. This is building trust in God - something I am lacking in. It's so easy in our make-it-happen culture to make things happen. I have a tendency to have a burden or vision and try to carry the full weight - praying to God, almost becoming fixated on it but never really letting God take full control. So now I'm relying on God to work in me to help me trust Him more and let go. I truly want the perfect will of God in my life and not the permissive will. Read Hudson Taylor's book and you will get the level of letting go I'm talking about.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Pictures


Above pictures: Dave with Stacey's farm animals, Teagan playing tea at our house, my belly around 5.5 months, ultrasound pictures, & Maggie the Reindeer

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Clementine in Hamilton

I bought my first house in Hamilton (a neighborhood in Baltimore) in 2001. The neighborhood had a lot of charm but definitely was transitional. Myriah threw me a surprise shower at a local Hamilton restaurant just down the road from where I used to live. First of all I was shocked how Myriah pulled off such a wonderful shower in such a short amount of time and ... I was shocked how up and coming the Hamilton downtown area is. I love the place we had the shower - so cool. There is a picture of it above.

Thank you Rye - you are the best!!! Love you tons!!

We're Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

We're back from our trip to PA/MD. It was very eventful (in a good way) and we had a great time. I think I need to do several posts just to capture all of the details.

Thank you to my cuzzy for our luxurious accommodations and all the wonderful things she did.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Hana & Sam

My niece Hana's birthday was Sunday and my cousin-nephew (a title his mother created) Sam's birthday is Friday. Happy birthday and love you both!

Sorry - I don't have a picture of you on this computer Sam-you-smell


Thanksgiving should be everyday but it's easy to get caught up in our plans and daily routine. I have been inspired by another blogger to thank God for so many things in my life.

Thank you God for (not in any order):

- my salvation
- That it is finished
- for the freedom to worship You in this country
- for my naughty dog that is trying to eat my dinner right now
- my husband who knows You and loves You
- my unborn child
- my mother
- My Aunt Annie - who is a prayer warrior and my faithful blog reader (maybe the only reader :) )
- my brothers Vinny and Zac who have loved me unconditionally and our time together living in Baltimore
- my whole family - siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, step parents, in-laws and all others
- my friends
- "the cousin gang" of which Vinny was the leader
- my cousin Rye who is my best friend
- my cousin Liz who is my stunt double or I am her stunt double
- my church and church family
- MBC&S - one of the best decisions I have ever made
- Greater Grace - Pastor Sheff who introduced me, Pastor Stevens who taught me to love the Word of God and Pastor Schaller who has stood in the gap and been a faithful friend
- Adoptive Parents - love you Sam-you-smell
- That death isn't final
- Heaven is waiting - miss you Vinny
- those who are faithful to the Great Commission and those who put God first in their lives
- Carol who didn't tell anyone I was pregnant when my mother told her and wasn't supposed to
- my life so far - no regrets - I am thankful for my failures because I have learned the mercy and grace of God; people letting me down because it has drawn me closer to God; my worst fear coming upon me - losing one of the closest if not the closest person to me - God has shown me that He can carry me
- Getting to know God and being on an adventure with Him
- Always being reminded that my failures (there are many) are paid for past, present and future - like right now - yelling at my dog for trying to eat my food
- That He is the great Comforter - He comforted me this morning when an old friend sent an instant message asking me how my brother was and how much he missed him. And I had to tell him through streams of tears how much I miss my brother too.

Love You Aunt Annie

Just wanted to let you know, if you're reading - I love you and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!


For all who knew Vinny well, knew he was an incredibly funny person and loved to laugh. He had a way of summing up a situation that was right on target and was so funny. I think it's because he knew people so well.

"Too bad so sad I'm glad you're mad"... Molly tries to copy that one but never gets it right

"Go get me a drink, cold blue steel". He loved commanding people, especially those who loved to be commanded. When he asked some boy to do something for him once, the boy said, "Please say cold blue steel."

My aunt Molly is always saying she is working her a-- off. So Vinny took a picture of Molly bending over her washing machine (total butt picture and not flattering) and sent it to all of us saying, "Here is Molly working her a-- off."

He made up great nick names for people. His roommate at the time and now our friend David is originally from Tennesse but lived in Russia as a missionary kid for many years. You would have to know him to get the full picture, but Vinny pegged him with with nickname Oompah. That was his name as far as our circle of friends was concerned. It was so funny. Vinny always called me Rach- arella after Cinderella (I hated it - he stole it from my aunt) so he called our Hungarian friend Hagi (pronounced Hoggy by many Americans)Hog- a rella. She is a very tall, thin, but big framed woman. Vinny called her this for years. Being from a different country she didn't get that he was combining her name with Cinderalla's. She finally asked him why he was calling her a Hog & Gorilla. We died laughing. He called our friend Tammy who lived with the Awad family Tam-wad. He told Herman the Russian (who he called the Soviet) that he was going to beat him to a bloody pulp which Herman loved and asked him to repeat over and over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two More Souls with Jesus

My two phone calls this morning were bittersweet. Two more souls under the age of twenty breathed their last breath and went home to be with Jesus. Two more families are beginning their journey of grief. Thank God that He is the Great Comforter.

My first call was from my aunt Molly. A girl she has transported for years died this morning at 5 am. Randy was severely burned to the pointed of deformity when she was an infant. Molly really believed God put Randy into her life for a reason and really loved Randy with all of her heart. Randy was so deformend she only had one patch of normal skin on her back side, her arms were not complete and she didn't really have any hair. Her beauty ran deep and as well as her brattiness. Dave and I first met her in Baltimore when Molly took her to see D.C. She loved Dave instantly and told me he was HER boyfriend and wouldn't leave his side. Once in a great while I filled in for Molly driving her original crew home (now she has tons of kids). One day Randy said a naughty word and I told her not to say it again. She said, "Say what?" I told her she knew what she said. She kept trying to get me to say the word. When I wouldn't, she said, "Oh, you mean ----." She had such a great personality and great sense of humor. I am so thankful to God that she got to live the life with so much light. She was a bright light to all who knew her. Pray for her little sister and her mom as they have a big void now. I pray they will allow the the love of God to surround them.

My second call was from my friend B.J. who said she guessed I had heard the news from Baltimore. Of course that statement put me on edge. One of my Bible College Teachers who is also a friend and has been a true role model of the faith (he is now the President of MBC&S) lost his amazing, godly daughter to an automobile accident. She is a teenager, the youngest of four children. Cristina has an incredible family, extended family and church family. I am sure her life has touched many and many are mourning her death all over the world. I pray that God would comfort the broken hearts of her parents, siblings, family and friends.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baby Boy 24 Weeks/ 6 Months

Baby Boy Umstead is 24 weeks. He's a perfect little person rapidly gaining weight for his little body. I haven't really figured out his sleep patterns. He moves around a lot but I'm not sure it's at the same time everyday. Time is flying by and it's hard to believe he'll be here in about 3 1/2 months.

I'm trying to prepare for Thanksgiving. I thought it might be easier if I do some of the cooking we have to do in advance. So my mom gave me her family recipe for chocolate balls - let me just tell you I LOVE THESE. It's one of my favorite parts about Christmas and DEFINITELY my favorite part about eating at Christmas. I've never made them before and for some reason anticipated it being very difficult. Well, I did it last night after work and I hope they make it to Thanksgiving. They are fabulous. I should take a picture but am too lazy right now. My next hurdle is mastering my grandmother's yeast rolls. I am not a big roll person because usually I think they're rather bland - but a good, home made yeast roll - who can resist?

The town villian and I have taken to walking under the cover of darkness - less people to attack and less chances of us being identified as "the ones". I thought it would be freezing but it wasn't so bad. I did take the poop bag and I almost always pick it up unless it's in a really convenient place to hide it. Like on a hill side where no one lives and I can just push it down the hill with sticks. I don't leave it if it's on someone's yard or the side walk. I do think that's rude. Last night I found it very convenient to just keep walking when the deed was done.

We have this lady who drives some distance to come to our laundromat. She comes because she says that ours is the cleanest in the area. When you look at her you wonder why that is so important to her. Well, she drives a van and has a dog that she calls her child. I know a lot of people who do that (the dog thing). I might even fit into that category. It's beyond that for her. Her dog is a person and her guardian angel. She brings it in in a baby carriage. Last night she came in an threw herself across the table and declared to Dave how exhausted she was. She is very entertaining and most of the time wearing on one's nerves because she demands SO much attention. She was very difficult to deal with until Dave discovered the key to her heart - doting on her dog. Dave was hoping that her declaration didn't mean lots of extra work for him. He helped her bring her stuff in and went back to work in the back of the laundromat. His heart dropped to his stomach when he heard a blood curdling scream come from the front. He thought she cut her finger off or worse. So he ran up front and she said, "a spider". I think Dave was relieved and annoyed at the same time. Apparently the spider came in with her stuff among other things like leaves, sticks etc. Some people must rake their laundry with their leaves because many people haul stuff in looking like that. She did leave some blankets for Dave to wash. She made sure to ask Dave to wash his hands before taking them out of the dryer to fold because they are for her dog and he can't be exposed to bacteria (I would add - wash your hands after you fold them if you saw the cleanliness level of the dog stroller, her body and her van).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Little Kujo

Okay - so today on our walk my sweet little hound dog who loves everyone to the point of being annoying tried to viciously attack a non-threatening middle aged woman walking by. These attacks used to be attacks of love - jumping and licking - but now are bordering on killer dog. I know the cause. She's been increasingly like this since I've been pregnant and she's doing her job protecting her mother and little brother. It's quite surprising and scary. Especially to a frail framed woman who looks like the wind could blow her over. Here is this cute, medium sized, friendly enough seeming dog that lunges at you like a rabid raccoon. I can't even hold Maggie back. I don't think she actually bit this woman but came very close. I know it's not funny but with my sick personality it kind of is. This woman probably has no idea that I'm pregnant because I was wearing a winter coat. She thought, "Oh, here comes a nice young woman with her cute little dog". Which turned into "there's the town psycho who walks Kujo around town so her neighbors can get attacked".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We went to our doctor's appointment last Wednesday. Dave was the only guy there this time. He did really well and even participated in the game. We played charades on the discomforts of pregnancy. Dave got sore breasts. It was quite the hit of the class. The baby's heartbeat was great and always makes me laugh. You could hear him kicking as well (I can feel it too). Everything seems to be in line for March. I did gain more weight than I thought. It was a really weird situation. I thought the scale was off and used the upstairs one. It said the same weight but the other woman who said it was off said she was 8 lbs lighter upstairs. Oh well. We have thought of many names but are not telling anyone our choices.

Friday night I went to the Pen Bay Christian School Auction. They did a really good job and had some great items up for auction... it was just a little long for me to sit for 3 hours. I am not sure it's because I'm pregnant or just plain don't have the attention span. I did pick up some gifts.

Saturday we had our first youth night at our house for our church. Our friend Zach came over to make pizzas and he did a fabulous job. The young people had fun playing with our basketball game in our garage and are looking forward to more activities. Our church is small and we don't really have anything for preteens and teens. Dave and I are hoping to fill that gap with God's leading. My wreath making idea wasn't such a draw for the young women. Why? I don't get it. It think it's so much fun to go tipping for Balsam branches and make beautiful Christmas wreaths. My aunt Stacey taught me how and that's how I made my Christmas money when I was 14 and 15. We used to have a blast. Freeze to death but have a blast.

Sunday I was pretty drained. Church was great but we made the mistake of eating at the Olde Mill Diner again. The food is outstanding, you just definitely have to go to bed after. So we didn't do much Sunday afternoon. We didn't even have anything for dinner and we were so lazy (didn't want to go to the store) that Dave decided to create some fried rice concoction from the bare minimum ingredients we had. It wasn't bad.

I am reading Hudson Taylor's autobiograhpy. AMAZING. It's not very long but I have learned so much from his life. His writing has really convicted me to pray more and trust God to answer in stead of taking matters into my own hands and making things happen. He really learned that at a young age preparing to go on the missionfield to China. He saw God's faithfulness time and time again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This morning when I woke up I was thinking about certainties. My pastor from Baltimore preached a message called Certain Certainites (probably before I was born but it was such a hallmark it is still being sold). I have listened to that but can't remember it well and am not talking about that. It's easy to think about death when someone so close to you dies. I think it's so weird how I deal with it or maybe how many people deal with it. I am walking down the street with my dog and a leaf blows past me and then all of the sudden something is triggered inside of me. Oh my brother is dead. I haven't talked to him in over four months and I am not going to talk to him again on this earth. I think it's so strange that death is a certainty that WE ALL face but like to pretend it's not there. I think our culture makes things that aren't certain the certainties and things are certain not certainties. It is certain that I must have a mother and father to be created but it's not certain I will have a mother and father in my life. It is certain that I must sleep but it's not certain that my house will be there when I get home. It's certain that I must do something to make money - either fill out government forms to be on welfare, go to work or build a business. It's not certain that my business will be there tomorrow. It may be certain that I love my child with all my heart but it's not certain my child will live through the next hour. Some people look at creation (they don't call it that) as a certainty - the mountains, the oceans - but the grass withers and the flower fades. We all have dreams and part of our humanity believes that it's too inconvenient of a time for us to die. I haven't finished high school yet, I haven't become a teacher yet, I'm not married yet, I don't have children yet, I don't have my PhD yet, my child is still so young, I have plans to travel. I can tell you that my brother had many plans when God took him. We talked about them when I was with him a week before he died. He was planning on selling his house in Rockland and buying a house in Virginia. He was planning on spending the weekends at my house if I moved to Maryland. He had a plane ticket to go marry his fiancee and bring her back to Virginia. He was planning on coming to my cousin's wedding in Maine. Tomorrow or even the next minute is not promised to us. Whether we believe it or not, it is certain there is a God. It is not certain if you will spend eternity with Him. It is certain that all of the prophecies in the Bible have come true and there are still more to come. If you read the Bible, it is certain that God loves you and God has given us a certain way to know Him. God gave His only Son to die, shed His blood and pay for our mistakes past, present and future. It is certain that if we believe on Him, we will spend eternity with Him no matter what our failure is. I like to tell people this life is so short. We can't take our dog with us (I wish), our degrees, our money, or anything but our relationship with God when we die. Shouldn't we get to know Him on this earth? That's my second train of thought after I think my brother is dead. I remind myself that he knew the living God and is in heaven now. I will be with him soon enough.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

It seems weird to say Happy Veterans Day. Happy doesn't sound appropriate. THANK YOU is more like it. Thank you to all of the men and women who have served during war time and all of the families that have sacrificed through that service. Thank you to all the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom and all the families that lost someone so dear. My late brother was a veteran and taught me a lot about serving our country and being patriotic.

Monday, November 10, 2008


My mother took me to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday afternoon. Sherman, Vicki, Molly, Wayne and Sam went too. The Camden Hills High School always does such a great job on their musicals. The acting, costumes and set were amazing. It was such a treat. Thank you Mom!

Dave and I spent some time in Augusta looking at baby stuff in Target. It's so overwhelming. I guess we'll just start chipping away at what we need. Dave is really getting into it. He found the cutest outfits on BabyGapdotcom. Of course he'll grow out of them in no time, so it doesn't make sense to buy all of his clothes there.... but a few really cute outfits ... who can resist. By the way, if you're wondering the name, we are not disclosing that. Too many opinions. We have the next Dr's appointment on Wednesday. I told Dave he didn't have to come. It's mostly the mothers but fathers are welcome too. Last time I told Dave all the dads were coming and only one other showed up. When we were discussing the next appointment I told him I was fine going by myself. I really meant it. He really wants to go, though. I think it's so cute.

I am not exactly sure what's happening with the planning of Chris' funeral. I haven't talked to Zac or Steph in a few days. Last I heard they were having a service on Matinicus and one on the mainland as well. It's a little more complicated than someone just dying because they have to file a missing person report and I am not sure what goes along with that. Please keep them in your prayers. It's so hard to lose someone so young, so unexpectedly and especially without saying good bye. Unfortunately, I and they have been through this less than four months before Chris passed away. They definitely need love and prayers. I know with Vinny it was very painful and shocking for the first week or so and then when reality set in, the pain got worse. There's nothing easy about this type of situation. Good things do come out of it. And I know more than ever in my life that God is faithful. I take is plan willingly and thankfully because there wouldn't be this much of a loss or pain if my memories of Vinny weren't such a blessing. Like Job said to his wife in Job 2 - can we take the good from God and not take the bad? I wouldn't trade one second of the pain if it meant I had to trade one small part of my relationship with Vinny. I just pray Steph can find comfort in the arms of God as well.

I have 7 more pages of My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas. I am totally blown away by this man's life. I highly recommend the book and I don't think you'll look at things the same way after reading it. While I respect the President Elect and will pray for him as he prepares for his new office and while he's in office, his life is such a contrast to Clarence Thomas'. Clarence Thomas has never had the victim mentality and let me tell you, he suffered A LOT. My next book will by The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. I am so excited to start it. This is an amazing Chinese man who has impacted millions of people all over the world.

I am also excited about our Thanksgiving plans. Lord willing we will be staying in PA at my cousin Rye's apartment. Her mother and my aunt has been in a special program for months and Rye hasn't seen her. She is getting out for the day and we are going to surprise her with our visit. I can't wait. Rye and I will be cooking a feast all day and then are looking forward to a Scrabble marathon. I have to admit, I use to be the champ but I have been out of practice for so long I am anticipating getting crushed. We'll see. I don't think Dave cares so much for Scrabble, but I am sure it will be nice for him to get away after the tough year it has been.